Saturday, December 10, 2005

My Other Lives (part 1)

Where to begin?

I believe that a lot of us alcoholics have led double lives, at least at times. For me, it was working in a very straight and conservative environment. First, in the public school system as a PE teacher and football coach, then in the oil business. Neither of those allowed a way of life where I could feel comfortable being myself. Certainly not in the school system back in the mid-1970's in Houston, Texas. My 20-year career in the oil industry involved working with hundreds of guys in the offshore part of the business. Many were rough, tough rednecks from the south. Most others I knew were at least on the conservative side of thinking.

Combined with my sensitivites of what others might think of me, neither of those areas of employment provided a venue where I could be myself. As a result, most of my adult life I was the straight-acting, sports-loving, heavy-drinking and usually pretty much fun guy to be around. Rarely, if ever, did I inject talk about women and dating. I told the good joke when I could think of one. Steers and queers types of jokes. I had to fit in.

So as a gay man I could rarely be me. I thought I had to be who you wanted me to be. I was pretty damn good at it. But I had another life as well.

By age 18 I knew I was gay. College was fun. Lots of drinking, lots of free sex. I didn't date girls, of course. But I didn't date guys either since I was heavily involved in sports. From 1977 (age 23), I lived in Montrose, the accepted gay section in Houston. I often had gay roommates. I went to the gay bars. Every night. I had gay boyfriends. I learned to separate my personal life from my professional life. It worked quite well for me during those formative years.

Then, in 1988 at the age of 34, I began working overseas. An Escape.

link to part 2


Scott W said...

Escape. I could easily say that was my drug of choice.

castor said...

Very interesting your curriculum vitae! The ways are different but there is only ONE destination for somebody who has the disposition to become a problem drinker ...
I appreciated my alcoholic problem at the age of 46, thanks goodness, just in time to escape by the skin of my teeth ... It's now 13 years ago when I made the withdrawal treatment!

Have a great weekend!

castor said...

Sorry, now it's already 16 ago when I stopped drinking :-)

Mr. H.K. said...

Try not to read any reviews of Brokeback Mountain until you see it.... But this post makes me think you will really resonate with the film when it opens in Houston.

Mr. H.K.
Postcards from Hell's

And I Quote Blog

Boston B. said...

you were a p.e. teacher? i didn't know that....

Scott W said...

Boston, isn't that scary?

Trudging said...

You should write a book. As for P.E., I skipped P.E. every gosh darn chance I got. In my sober adult life I have met many nice current and former P.E. teachers I have let go of that prejudice. I am glad that you CAN be yourself today.

Lisa said...

HP, I bet I saw you when I used to frequent Dirty Sally's and Mary's on way too many occasions. I used to go with my friends Mark and Shane, not to mention So and Garry (our roomate). I used to love to suprise the "straight men" that would come into the bars (trying feebly to pick up women) by acting like I was gay. Hey, it worked and they left me alone to have fun with the ppl I wanted to party with!